Knue has narrow lead in 10th District Position 1 race

It was too close to call Tuesday night in the 10th Legislative District Position 1 house race.

With about 75 percent of the vote counted, incumbent Republican Norma Smith was trailing Democratic challenger Tim Knue by less than 600 votes.

Of the 39,691 votes counted so far, Knue, a longtime educator from Conway, had 20,141 votes, or 50.74 percent, to Smith's 19,550, or 49.26 percent."

"It looks good and we're excited," Knue said Tuesday night. "But it's not over until it's over."

"We're just going to wait and watch the numbers," he added. "If the trends continue, we should have a positive outcome, and we'll get ready to take our mandate down to Olympia."

Campaign advisor Nathan Gorton, speaking for Smith, expressed optimism Tuesday night that history would repeat itself.

Referring to close Legislative elections in the district two years and four years ago, he said, "we're looking forward to the rest of the votes being counted."

"For whatever reason, this is what happens to Republicans on election night," he said. "It's close, then the late votes push them over. We're confident that trend will continue."

Smith, 57, of Clinton, was appointed by the GOP to fill the vacancy created by the departing Chris Strow.

Knue (pronounced canoe), 54, who grew up in Oak Harbor, taught vocational education at Mount Vernon High School for 27 years. He is has lived in the 10th District for 32 years.

He said during the campaign that the skills he learned as an educator and in pushing for education issues in Olympia would serve him well in elective office.

Smith, a longtime aide to the late U.S. Sen. Jack Metcalf, ran twice before for public office, losing to Rick Larsen in a race for the U.S. House of Representatives, and to state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen.

She has been a state resident since 1978, and a Whidbey Island resident since 1989.

Between her Congressional career and her recent legislative appointment, Smith was a researcher for Global Seascape and a program director and communications specialist with CRISTA Ministries. In 2005, she joined Lindsay Communications in Langley.

Knue both out-raised and out-spent Smith in the campaign, according the state Public Dislosue Commission.

Late in the campaign, Smiht complained of "smear tactics" by a political action committee associated with the Democratic party that mailed out fliers she said were filled with lies.

Knue condemned the ads, said they were out of his control and promised if elected to work to eliminate such tactics.

During the campaign, both candidates were clear about what they considered the number-one issue: the economy.

Both candidates also stressed the importance of strong education policies.

Knue made affordable healthcare a priority, while both candidates stressed that finding alternative transportation options and investing in infrastructure are critical to the health of the state.

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